Me Time: A blowout, a mimosa and a breather at Be Styled (Plus a free blowout for you!)

As a working mom of two girls ages 2 and 4, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day…never mind time for me. Over the past few months, I’ve found it increasingly important to make time for me. It’s not easy…but it is so important. Last week, I was invited by the awesome people at Be Styled in Chestnut Hill to come in and check out their lounge for a complimentary blow dry.

I was soooo incredibly thankful. And that’s before I knew they’d serve me champagne!

It just so happened that 1) I had a light schedule last week and could make time for a blowout, 2) my hair had been in a braid for DAYS and desperately needed some TLC, and 3) I was going out to dinner with my girlfriend that evening. Perfect timing all around.

I arrived in a braid.

Check-in was super easy and after I gave my name, they asked if I wanted water, coffee, cappuccino, champagne, a mimosa…I didn’t even let them finish and I was sold on a mimosa.

The wash was great, and the scalp massage following it was even better. 

They show you an iPad where you can select the style you like. Be Sleek, Be Soft, Be Swirly, Be Swanky and Be Trendy are your options. Be Trendy is a style that changes monthly and right now is a beachy waves type of style. I chose be soft.

I enjoyed the blowout while sipping my mimosa and watching Bridge Jones Diary on the large flat screens.

I loved the style I chose. I was so happy with how it looked.

 

It was the best $35 I never spent…thanks to Be Styled because they invited me for free. But I would totally spend the $35 once in a while for a little pampering. Seriously, it’s worth it. Especially on a hot summer day when you don’t want to do your own hair…or before a date night or a girls night out. My blowout lasted for days, even in some light rain and humidity.

And the best news….you can get a FREE blowout at their new location in Wellesley, MA! The Wellesley lounge is opening later this week and is giving FREE blowouts, yes you read that right, FREE blowouts on Friday, August 9th and Saturday, August 10th. You can book online and even though it says $35, all blowouts are FREE these two days!

You deserve it…book a blowout…and enjoy!

 

I was invited for a complimentary service at the Be Styled lounge in exchange for this review. However all opinions presented here are my own. 

Delivery Man with Vince Vaughn

I’m a sucker for Vince Vaughn movies…he’s hysterical. And then when I like the plot and message…I’m in! I recently had the opportunity to see this trailer for Delivery Man. In the film, Vince Vaughn plays an affable underachiever looking for his purpose in life, when he finds out he’s fathered 533 children through anonymous donations to a fertility clinic 20 years ago.

Yep, you read that right, 533.

I’m sure at this point you are thinking, “Oh holy hell, I have two and can’t keep up.”

No? Oh, that’s me thinking out loud again.

Anyway, back to the movie. Now he must decide whether or not to come forward when 142 of them want to meet their biological father.

It’s clearly unconventional….but then again, look around. The “traditional” family has evolved. What makes a family? You may initially say a mother, father, child, etc., etc. But after thinking about that question…I answer LOVE.

I’m happy my four-year-old daughter understands that every family is different. She knows that some children have a mom, some have a dad, some have both, some have two moms, some have two dads. It makes me happy she can see the world without prejudice and without thinking there is one way a family should be and that’s it.

Anyway, I guess that’s why this movie touched me. Check out this debut of the film’s official trailer:

DELIVERY MAN stars Vince Vaughn, Cobie Smulders and Chris Pratt and will be in theaters November 22. Mark your calendars! And just so you know, this movie is for adults and not small children. It’s rated PG-13 for mature themes.

“Like” DELIVERY MAN on Facebook: Facebook.com/DeliveryManMovie 

Follow DELIVERY MAN on Twitter: @DeliveryManFilm

Follow DELIVERY MAN on Pinterest: Pinterest.com/DeliveryManFilm

Follow DELIVERY MAN on Instagram: DeliveryManMovie

DELIVERY MAN releases in theaters on November 22nd!

The Big Bang Theory

I love being a woman. There are so many fun things we can do to change things up, from our clothes to our makeup to our hair and accessories. And I LOVE shaking things up a bit.  Ya know, one day I wear leather and the next day lace.

Well,  this week I’m thinking about changing up my hair. Last month I changed the color a bit…adding more reddish highlights instead of blonde. This week, I’m considering bangs. I have a long sordid past with bangs.

I had bangs as a kid, all the way until the summer before my junior year in college. That’s a lot of bangs. And boy did they go through some phases. Perms, poofy, feathered, you name it.

The first picture is in middle school. Second picture is freshman year of college…yes, college. Third picture is fall 2009. Yes, they’ve evolved.

So here I am again considering bangs. I had them just over a year ago and then let them grow out last summer. I like the idea of bangs as they definitely can work to frame your face and add some dimension. I’m just not sure if I should pull the trigger, so that’s why I’m asking you!

To bang or not to bang, that is the questions.

The picture on the left is summer 2010. Picture on the right is fall 2011. Thoughts? Preference? Bangs or no bangs.

 

My Baby Turns 4

Today my first daughter, my first-born turns four. How is that possible? She is my beautiful, smart, funny little muffin. A total mix of her Mommy and her Daddy. A tomboy who loves pink and purple. She makes me smile and laugh every day.

She will be officially 4 at 8:53pm tonight. What an amazing four years…and I’m so excited to see her grow and change over the years to come. Happy birthday to my little love.

F-Bomb Baby

Yeah, so this one day, my little one said “fork.” But it didn’t sound like “fork.” It sounded like “f*$%.”

Yup. So that happened. It happens a lot.

Like these? One of my favorite bloggers, ViolaCay, posted some of the most hysterical kid swearing-but-not-really videos ever HERE and HERE. I remember seeing these and laughing so hard I had tears.

And now I have my little chatterbox. More videos to follow…I’m sure.

 

My New Healthy Lifestyle

Me + Healthy Lifestyle hasn’t always been the perfect fit. I’ve always been active. I was a dancer and gymnast growing up and then I was a cheerleader during my days at Syracuse University.

                

Despite my past, I’ve never really been a huge “health & fitness” person. I know, it’s almost embarrassing to admit. I’ve never been the one to WANT to eat a salad for lunch or WANT to go to the gym. I always accepted being a few pounds overweight to be able to enjoy the life I wanted to live (and the cocktail or pizza).

Things changed last year, as I’ve written about, when I was not feeling well after I gave birth to my second daughter. Doctors suspected I had Rheumatoid Arthritis or Lupus based on blood work and symptoms and I did not like that diagnosis. I began a Paleo lifestyle and it’s changed my life. You can read more about that here, here, and here, and I post my Paleo recipes here.

What was my catalyst?

These two are why I am now focused on living a healthy and active lifestyle. I want to set a good example for them. I want to feel good to be able to run around with them and keep up with them. I want them to be proud of their Mommy. These two are my inspiration and motivation.

And there is more….

For the past year, I’ve had the healthy nutrition/diet thing down. The exercise…not so much.

And then April 15, 2013. The Boston Marathon. A date that has forever changed my city and in a sense, all of us.

Have I ever been a runner? No. But have I gone and watched the marathon almost every year as an adult? Yes. It’s a state holiday, it’s our state holiday, Patriots Day. It’s one of my favorite days of the year here in Boston.

And now I want to run. Do I want to run the Boston marathon? Yes. Can I? That remains to be seen. But yesterday, I put on my gear and started running.

                  

I started running because I can. So here I go, for me, for my children and for my city.

 

I received gift cards as compensation for promotion the C9 at Target Line, which is 90% of my workout wear. However, all opinions are my own, and as you can see from this post, this is very personal to me. 

Potty Talk

 This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Potty Time Stickers and given a free Potty Time Sticker chart. Although I was already using the sticker chart before they contacted me, so shhhh!!! don’t tell them. I’m saving my new chart for when we potty train my youngest. All opinions are my own. 

Breaking News!!!!!

My oldest is potty trained.

I may have said I’d never write about the potty, but I’m so proud of my little one, I just can’t help it. And this has been a LOOONNNNNGGGGG time coming. Yahooooo!!!!!

So just to give you some background, my daughter is 3 years, 10 months. I really think we missed out opportunity last summer when she was showing a lot of interest in the potty. But to be honest, we are on the move all the time, and diapers were actually easier for all our travels. I really never thought it was going to happen…and I was prepping to do an intensive three-day cold turkey intervention.

And then it happened.

One day after gymnastics class, she wet through her diaper and outfit. I explained that she was too big for her diapers and now that she is almost four, the diapers just don’t fit anymore. I told her we were going to try undies. She protested. And I mean really protested. Screamed, cried….total tantrum. I tried to put undies on her and she would not allow it. I asked her what she wanted to wear and she said nothing.

So that’s what she wore. Nothing. For about two hours. No diapers, no undies, no pants. After two hours, she got cold and asked for pants. Still no undies. And that was it. Sayonara diapers. And she never looked back.

When I dropped her off at school the next day, I had to explain the situation to the teachers and tell them she was commando. She went commando for a full week.

A week later, we had a dentist appointment. For some reason, she equates the dentist with being a “big girl,” and apparently also “big girl” with undies. So she woke up and asked for undies!

CRAZINESS!

She has such a different confidence about her now. I’m so proud of her.

Okay, so I’m not an expert but here are some of my notes, key learnings and advice from our potty training process:

Skip the little potty chairs. Start with the big potty and if needed, get a training seat that goes on the big potty. Maybe this isn’t for everyone, but my little one was not impressed with the potty chair. It isn’t what Mommy and Daddy use so why should she.
Don’t think there is a right or a wrong way. There is not. There is the way that works for you kid. The way that worked for my kid was commando.

Pick a method and stick with it. For rewards, we used stickers and dark chocolate chips. We used the big potty only. We didn’t have her sit on it for long periods of time. And make sure you and your significant other pick the same method. Also, make sure to clearly communicate with teachers/daycare providers so everyone is on the same page. The last thing your little one needs is different messages from all over.

Use rewards. I know not everyone likes this philosophy but it worked for us….eventually. We used dark chocolate chips and also the Potty Time Sticker Chart. Created by a working mom, the chart is now available at CVS stores nationwide for $2.99. It’s easy to hang in the bathroom and my favorite part was that there is an “end”. There are places for 40 stickers…and it just so happened, we kicked the diapers on the 37th sticker. Coincidence? I think not. My little felt part of the process and loved picking the new sticker for her chart.

Stock up on laundry detergent. There will be a lot of laundry.

Be prepared. Accidents will happen. Just be prepared so you’re not stumbling around in the middle of the night. Have an extra pair of PJs and undies easily accessible. Bring full changes of clothes in the car if you are out and about. Some people have found post-it notes useful to put on auto-flush toilets when they are out (sometimes they scare littles).

Don’t over-buy undies. I bought a bunch of pair when we first started the process. Now they are too small and I needed to buy new ones.

Boys undies are perfecting acceptable for girls. My daughter LOVES her Mickey Mouse, Jake and the Pirates and Handy Manny undies I got her from the boys section at Target. While it was odd to be putting “Handy Manny” undies on my almost 4-year-old girl, she wanted them and she loved them. Who cares right?

 This is a sponsored post. I was compensated by Potty Time Stickers and given a free Potty Time Sticker chart. Although I was already using the sticker chart before they contacted me, so shhhh!!! don’t tell them. I’m saving my new chart for when we potty train my youngest. All opinions are my own. 

 

Definitions and Overriding Principles of Paleo and Healthy Eating

You see that I often write about living a Paleo lifestyle (why I started, shopping guide, beginner’s guide). My family and I try to live a healthy lifestyle. This extends to cleaning products, recycling, skin/bodycare and more. But the biggest area I write about is food. I tweet and Facebook about food a lot. Sometimes recipes from my Paleo recipe site, and sometimes general information about healthy eating. There are sooooo many schools of thought and philosophies on healthy eating. I’m not an expert. I’m not saying my way is the only way. I’ve embraced Paleo and I’ve run with it. But if you don’t want to jump into Paleo 100%, there are other ways you can improve your diet and your overall health with what you eat, and more importantly, what you do not eat.

What’s more important than whether or not you follow Paleo are the definitions and overriding principles of healthy eating in general. These Here are some terms and phrases you may see me write about…and many of these I did not know until this past year:

GMO (genetically modified organism):

A GMO is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. Yummy right? And there are genetically modified foods and crops. Most of the have been created so crops are resistant to pests, herbicides or environmental conditions. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to eat a science experiment, so I stay away from foods with GMOs. It’s not easy to do, however, because GMOs are in a LOT of foods. If a product is organic, it does NOT have GMOs. Also, all Trader Joe’s branded products are GMO-free.

Picking fruits and veggies from our CSA. Organic. Non-GMO. Whole foods. Gluten-free.

Gluten-free

Gluten-free = no gluten. Sounds great right? Well, just because something is gluten-free doesn’t mean it is healthy. You can find gluten-free baked goods, pizzas and processed foods which can still be bad for you. Whenever possible, stick to whole foods (see next item) and if you need a fix or a treat, make it yourself…that way you know the quality of the ingredients.

Whole foods

No, not the grocery store. Whole foods are foods that are unprocessed and unrefined. Fruits, vegetables, unpolished grains, beans, non-homogenized dairy. While I don’t necessary eat all of these listed (grains and beans are a no-no on Paleo), if you stick to this type of diet, it is inherently healthier.

Whole Foods

Yes, the store. Just because you shop at Whole Foods does not mean you are buying healthy foods. You must be a discerning customer. Whole Foods sells both organic and conventional foods, so read signs and labels. Whole Foods also sells foods that contain GMOs. And they DO NOT label all the products that have GMOs so be aware (they have committed to doing so by 2016, however in my opinion, they should not carry products containing GMOs). I do frequently shop at Whole Foods, but just beware and be educated.

Grass-fed beef

Mark’s Daily Apple wrote up a great post on the grass-fed beef and I think you should read it. Basically, I stick with organic, grass-fed beef.

Processed foods

Basically, any food not in its natural state. An apple = not processed. Twinkie = processed. That may be a drastic example but you get the point.

Organic Foods

According to wikipedia, organic foods are:

…foods that are produced using methods of organic farming – that do not involve modern synthetic inputs such as synthetic pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Organic foods are also not processed using irradiation, industrial solvents, or chemical food additives.

 We buy organic foods whenever possible. I mean, do pesticides, chemical fertilizers irradiation, solvents and additives sound healthy? Yeah, didn’t think so.

Dairy

Dairy products are food products processed from the milk of mammals. Milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream…but NOT EGGS! Even though eggs are in the dairy section of the grocery store, they are not dairy. Eggs come from chickens.

Grains & Legumes

If you follow Paleo, you avoid grains and legumes. What you may not realize is that includes corn (grain) and peanuts (legumes). Other nuts are fine. Just not peanuts, because they are not really a nut.

Wild vs. Farm Raised Fish

I took this passage from this CNN piece:

A 2003 report from the Environmental Working Group showed that farmed salmon in the U.S. has the highest levels of PCBs, toxic man-made chemicals. And a widely publicized study in the journal Science in January 2004 suggested that farmed Atlantic salmon had higher levels of PCBs and other toxics than wild Pacific salmon.

Umm…..nuff said for me. I stay with wild seafood.

So those are some of the terms you may hear or read from me. Have any others that you are curious or confused about? Let me know!

 

WWYW: Mixed Prints

I love the idea of mixed prints, but I haven’t really pulled it off myself in real life yet.

I bought a shirt as part of the Target/Prabal Gurung collaboration and I think it’s a perfect candidate to style in a mixed prints ensemble. What do you think?

It’s a casual’ish long-sleeved t-shirt with the flower design. I wore it under a black blazer with super skinny black cigarette pants for a work meeting one day…but I feel that it has much more potential.

So, WWYW? What would you wear? I know it can be worn with bright skinnies but I’m looking to pair it with a contrasting print. Strips? Dots? Gingham?

Weigh in and let your inner stylist break free!

 

 

Spring 2013 Trends I Won’t Be Wearing

I love fashion. And I’m all for a trends. But I’m also all for understanding what I can and cannot wear. I’m petite. To say the least…4’8″. So there are some things that just don’t work on me…and there are other things I just don’t like.

Here it is, the spring 2013 trends that I WON’T be wearing!

  1. Crop Tops. Maybe it’s my age, maybe it’s that I’ve two kids via c-section. Maybe it’s because I live in Boston and spring can still be cold. I guarantee I will not be wearing any crop tops. I love this striped top in theory, but not reality.
  2. Cutouts. I mean, you can pretty much just say “ditto” to #1. And also it seems as though the cutouts on all the dresses I am seeing are just in the most inopportune places for 99% of people.
  3. Neon. I’m not morally opposed to it in any way, it’s just not flattering as a color on me. And I feel like I should be at a roller skating rave party at 3am wielding glow sticks. Right?
  4. Peplum skirts. Not all peplum. Just peplum skirts. I love a peplum jacket or top and even a dress. The peplum usually falls nice on me and gives my body a great shape. But when it’s just a skirt, it just doesn’t work right on my body. It falls too low and throws my proportions all out of whack. Maybe if I were a foot taller, but in my current state, nope.
  5. Bold bottoms. I actually love the idea of a floral or patterned pant. But I’ve tried on numerous styles, fits, cuts, brands and colors and have yet to find one that works for me. Being so short, I think the bold print just calls too much attention to my lower half, and how short it is. My top half is short too…so I need to focus on things that elongate my body. And these definitely do not. I can work a bright-colored bottom with the right top and heels, but the patterns will have to stay for the taller ladies.
  6. Wedge sneakers, chunky heels and flatforms. I love shoes. All types of shoes. But not these. You’d think a short girl might like some lift in her sneakers…but I find these just odd. The chunky heels from J. Crew look like something my 85-year-old grandmother would wear, and the flatforms? What the heck are those? They look like something Fred Flinstone would wear.

That all being said, I like the look of the cropped striped shirt with the floral bottoms. Mixed prints anyone? Not on me…but I could see it on a 19-year-old college student ;)

If you don’t agree with me, here is more info on the pieces listed above.

 

I won't be wearing these spring 2013 trends

Topshop sun dress
topshop.com

MSGM lace shirt
matchesfashion.com

J Crew j crew
net-a-porter.com

Mango skirt
$25 - mango.com

H&M floral pants
$22 - hm.com

Gee wa wa leather shoes
ashburyskies.com